Review: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

Review: Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa

NAME: Miraval Arizona
LOCATION: Tucson, Arizona
DATE: November 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Miraval Arizona is an awesome getaway if you can swing it, with interesting wellness-oriented activities and classes, great food, and friendly staff. However, there is also some room for improvement.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Hyatt Privé benefits, including a room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more, when booking a cash stay? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

Ford and I recently spent three nights at Miraval Arizona, which is a property that has been on my radar for years, as it’s also probably the most aspirational Hyatt property in the United States.

For those not familiar, Hyatt acquired Miraval wellness resorts in 2017, and Miraval Arizona was the brand’s first property. This resort has gotten tons of publicity, and has been featured on everything ranging from The Ellen Show to Real Housewives.

Going in, I wasn’t sure if I’d love or hate the experience. I’m not really an “eat, pray, love” type, and ordinarily my idea of a fun vacation isn’t sitting in a classroom learning which of my chakras need work, and which crystals I should use to work on that. I also wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the resort’s policy of not allowing electronics in most public places.

However, I actually enjoyed the experience quite a bit, and had a great time disconnecting. All the staff were friendly and passionate about what they do, the food was surprisingly great, and the landscape in this part of Arizona is simply breathtaking. Now, there are some things I wish I had considered going into the experience, which I’ll cover below.

My only major criticism of the property is that parts of the resort (especially the rooms) desperately need a renovation, given the price tag. Okay, now let’s get into the actual review…

Booking Miraval Arizona

I redeemed World of Hyatt points for our stay at Miraval Arizona. Since the property has a unique value proposition, Miraval properties have their own award chart. Our standard room redemption cost a total of 65,000 World of Hyatt points per night — 45,000 points for the first guest, and 20,000 points for adding a second guest.

World of Hyatt award chart for Miraval properties

For context, I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each, so this is the equivalent of paying nearly $1,000 per night for a hotel stay. This was my most expensive Hyatt redemption ever. However, once on property nearly everything is included, so you won’t be out of pocket much.

Even if you’re not a Hyatt loyalist, earning World of Hyatt points can be pretty easy. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

World of Hyatt Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply.
  • Earn 4x Points at Hyatt Properties
  • Free Night Every Year
  • Complimentary Discoverist Status
  • $95
World of Hyatt Business Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply.
  • Earn 4x Points at Hyatt Properties
  • Complimentary Discoverist Status
  • Gift Discoverist Status up to 5 Employees
  • $199
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel purchases
  • $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Learn More Terms Apply.
  • 3x points on Travel after the $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • 3x points on Dining
  • $300 Travel Credit
  • $550
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
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  • Earn 3x points on travel
  • Earn 3x points on shipping purchases
  • Cell Phone Protection
  • $95
Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
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  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Car Rental Coverage
  • Extended Warranty Protection
  • $0
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
Learn More Terms Apply.
  • Earn 5% Cash Back at office supply stores
  • Earn 5% Cash Back on internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines
  • Car Rental Coverage
  • $0
Chase Freedom Unlimited®
Learn More Terms Apply.
  • Earn 3% Cash Back on Dining
  • Earn 3% Cash Back at Drugstores
  • Earn 1.5% Cash Back On All Other Purchases
  • $0

For what it’s worth, for our dates a stay with cash would have cost a jaw-dropping $2,300 per night for two people, and that’s before taxes and the 23% resort charge (though the resort charge is waived for all members when redeeming points, and also for Globalist members when paying cash).

If you’re gong to book a cash stay at a Miraval, I’d recommend doing so through the Hyatt Privé program. Hyatt Privé rates cost the same as standard flexible rates (not member rates, advance purchase rates, AAA rates, etc.), and include additional perks, like an incremental $100 property credit, a room upgrade, a welcome gift, and more. Ford is happy to help with these requests, and can be reached at [email protected]

What’s included with Miraval hotel stays

All Miraval packages (including when redeeming points) include the following:

  • Accommodations
  • Unlimited participation in complimentary daily yoga, fitness, meditation, and wellness lectures, outback nature walks, photography classes, and outdoor adventure activities
  • All meals, snacks, smoothies, and non-alcoholic beverages
  • Complimentary shared shuttle transfers to Tucson Airport (TUS), or valet parking for those driving in
  • Full access to Miraval’s extensive resort amenities, including The Body Mindfulness Center and Life in Balance Spa

Most Miraval rates (including points redemptions) also include a $175 nightly per person resort credit that can be used toward spa services and paid classes and sessions. Miraval also has a non-tipping policy, which is something I really like. It’s not just that tipping isn’t required, but it’s expressly not allowed.

What’s not included with your Miraval stay? Alcoholic drinks, spa treatments, and select classes and sessions. But again, the $175 per person nightly resort credit can be applied toward most of those things.

I should also mention that while the hotel’s check-in time is 3PM and check-out time is 11AM, you can actually enjoy the property for longer. You can arrive as early as 11AM and depart as late as 5PM, and during that time you can enjoy all the activities, meals, etc.

Miraval Arizona location

Miraval Arizona is located just north of Tucson, so Tucson Airport (TUS) would be the closest airport to fly into, and from there it’s a roughly 40-minute drive to the resort. Best of all, the hotel offers a complimentary shared shuttle service to and from the airport. Note that the last shuttle from the resort to the airport departs at 2PM, so if you want to leave the resort later than that, you’ll have to set up a private transfer.

You’re probably not going to be leaving the property while staying here, so renting a car is unnecessary if this is your only stop.

We decided to fly into Phoenix Airport (PHX), as that’s roughly a two hour drive away. The reason we flew into there was because that way we could fly nonstop from Florida, rather than having to connect. If you’re driving yourself, just make sure you have directions properly loaded when you start your journey, since there’s not much cell signal around the property, and it can be easy to miss the entrance.

Miraval Arizona entrance

Miraval Arizona property overview

Miraval Arizona is set on 400 acres, with gorgeous views of the Santa Catalina Mountains. Let me first say that I absolutely love the landscape in this part of Arizona — I love the mountainous desert terrain, and I’d love to live in the area one day. It’s just so beautiful and peaceful.

While the property is 400 acres, a vast majority of it isn’t developed. For the actual developed part of the property, you could walk from one end to the other in 10 minutes or so. Below is a map that gives you a sense of the property’s layout.

Miraval Arizona property map

Being able to walk around the property and enjoy the nature, views, and climate, is a treat in and of itself. Below are some pictures of the property’s grounds, to give you a sense of what to expect.

Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property
Miraval Arizona property

Miraval Arizona lobby & check-in

We arrived at Miraval Arizona around 1PM. As we pulled up, we were greeted by an employee who offered to valet our car, took our bags, and escorted us to check-in. We were immediately offered cold towels. As I mentioned above, parts of Miraval Arizona don’t feel particularly high end, and the lobby area is definitely among those.

That’s ultimately not a huge issue, since you’re not really going to spend much time here, aside from when you arrive or depart.

Miraval Arizona lobby
Miraval Arizona reception

Our check-in process was efficient and friendly. Our room wasn’t quite ready yet, but that wasn’t an issue, as we could immediately enjoy the rest of the resort. We were also given Miraval tote bags and reusable water bottles, which are offered to all guests. You can use them on-property, and then also take them home. Heck, I’m drinking water out of this bottle as I write this review.

Miraval Arizona tote bag & water bottle

During check-in we were informed that we had been upgraded to a Sonoran Suite, which is a premium suite at the property. The hotel seems to do a good job with trying to upgrade Globalists. In this case the hotel was sold out, so I suspect that helped with the upgrade. Then again, after seeing the suite, I think we might have preferred a standard room…

Just outside reception is the courtyard.

Miraval Arizona courtyard

The courtyard is noteworthy because it’s one of the few areas at the resort where use of electronics is permitted. The resort has a policy known as “Miraval Mode,” which is intended to help guests disconnect. This isn’t just a recommendation, but you have to sign a contract at check-in agreeing that you’ll adhere to the policy.

This is described as a digital device-free policy, though it’s not quite as extreme as it sounds. Essentially you can take as many pictures with your cell phone as you’d like, but that’s about it. Think of it basically as having to keep your phone in airplane mode, and not connect to the Wi-Fi. The only exception is in your room, and in a couple of designated public zones.

Ford and I both ended up enjoying this policy. It’s funny, because I feel like many of us refresh social media, email, etc., almost as a nervous habit. We constantly had to catch ourselves almost doing that, though within a day or so we were totally used to it. It was a good reminder to be a bit more present, and it’s a lesson I’ve taken home with me as well.

Miraval Arizona digital device-free area signage

Miraval Arizona Sonoran Suite

Miraval Arizona has 146 casita-style rooms, suites, and villas. We were assigned room 121, which was in one of the closest buildings to reception and the restaurant. I found the building exteriors to be charming, and to have a great sense of place.

Miraval Arizona rooms

The interiors of the rooms are a different story, though. Our Sonoran Suite was massive, at 1,000 square feet. The pictures of suites on Miraval’s website look great, though our suite looked nothing like this. While we had plenty of space, it really didn’t feel luxurious at all. I actually think even the pictures I took make it look much nicer than it actually was.

The suite had a living room with a dining table, a large couch, a chair with an ottoman, and a desk.

Miraval Arizona suite living room
Miraval Arizona suite living room
Miraval Arizona suite living room

Everything just felt so worn. For example, just look at the condition of the cushions on the couch.

Miraval Arizona suite living room

The living room had a mini-fridge with a pitcher of water in it, plus a coffee machine that you’d expect to find at an Aloft, and not at a property where base rooms are retailing for thousands of dollars per night.

Miraval Arizona suite living room
Miraval Arizona suite living room

There was a half bath off the living room.

Miraval Arizona suite half bathroom

On the plus side, the bed was ridiculously comfortable, on par with Four Seasons beds, so I really appreciated that.

Miraval Arizona suite bedroom

There were then two chairs in the corner of the room, plus a TV.

Miraval Arizona suite bedroom

It’s kind of cute how there’s a pouch and a “bed” for your phone, so you can let it “rest” during your stay.

Miraval Arizona suite phone bed

There’s also a Tibetan singing bowl in each room at the hotel.

Miraval Arizona suite Tibetan singing bowl

The main bathroom was off the bedroom, and featured double sinks, a bathtub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet.

Miraval Arizona suite bathroom
Miraval Arizona suite toilet
Miraval Arizona suite bathtub
Miraval Arizona suite shower

Toiletries were in reusable Miraval branded containers.

Miraval Arizona suite toiletries

I know this is perhaps a minor detail, but the towels in the room seemed pretty low quality. Ford asked me for a towel while in the shower, and I handed it to him. He asked if that was actually a towel, or if it was a bath mat, since it was so thin and scratchy. That’s not what you expect at a luxury wellness resort.

Given how beautiful the area is, perhaps what I found most disappointing about the suite was the views and outdoor space. There was a small space off the living room with two loungers that didn’t feel like what you’d expect from a property of this caliber.

Miraval Arizona suite patio
Miraval Arizona suite patio view

The only other view was from the bedroom, which looked at a dirt path, and had an obstructed view of the mountains.

Miraval Arizona suite view

Of course I appreciated the generous upgrade, though I really think the rooms here need a refresh. That’s something I’ve seen many recent reviews of this property mention, so clearly I’m not alone.

It just feels like there’s a lack of effort. It’s not just that the room doesn’t feel particularly luxurious, but it also lacks character or personality. While a full refresh would be nice, at a minimum they could have better coffee machines, a bit more art on the walls, and a few more high-end amenities.

I think a little bit of TLC would also go a long way when it comes to some of the buildings. For example, while not our rooms, does the below really look like what you’d expect if paying this price tag?

Miraval Arizona is in bad condition in some areas

The good news is that the rooms are the low point of the property, and everything else about the experience is much better.

Dining at Miraval Arizona

All food and non-alcoholic drinks are included at Miraval Arizona. The dining venues are all located in the same building next to one another, and are as follows:

  • Cactus Flower Restaurant is where all meals are served, and it’s open for breakfast (6:30AM until 10AM), lunch (11:30AM until 2PM), and dinner (5PM until 9PM)
  • Palm Court Cafe is a grab and go bar where you can get a smoothie, coffee, wellness shot, or snack, throughout the day; it’s open from 6AM until 5PM
  • Coyote Moon Bar & Grill is the bar, where you can have a pre-dinner cocktail, or light snacks prior to dinner in the evening; it’s open from 4PM until late
  • You can also enjoy any of your meals via in-room dining, and there’s a flat $20 tray charge for that; given that the rooms were the least nice part of the resort, we never used this option

Overall I was extremely impressed by the selection and quality of food & drinks at Miraval. I have to say that based on some of the TripAdvisor reviews I’ve seen, you’d think that they’re serving Fyre Festival food, but that wasn’t at all my experience.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant

Cactus Flower is a beautiful restaurant, with plenty of natural light, and the option to dine indoors or outdoors. I believe the restaurant was recently renovated, as it looked different than the pictures on Miraval’s website (in a good way).

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant indoor seating
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant indoor seating
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant outdoor seating

Let’s go through the details of all three meals of the day. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s both a menu and a buffet, and you can mix and match them as you’d like. There are no limits on how many things you can order. Let’s work backwards, starting with dinner, and then lunch, and then breakfast.

Dinner is by far the best meal of the day, so let’s start with that. Note that reservations are required for dinner, and ideally you’ll want to make them well in advance, or you may not get your preferred time (you should be fine if you make them at breakfast each morning).

Below you can find the dinner menu with entrees. The menu is largely the same most evenings, with the exception of a couple of options rotating.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner menu

We enjoyed the chipotle shrimp tacos, the blue hubbard squash curry, the diver scallops, and the grassfed beef tenderloin. I love how they list the nutrition contents on the menu, and it really is impressive how healthy the preparation is, compared to what you’d otherwise find in a restaurant. Tacos with 110 calories, or curry with 320 calories? Nice!

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner

Just about all the dishes we had were great, and the buffet was top notch as well. It included everything from charcuterie, to pre-made salads, to a salad bar, to shrimp and oysters.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet

There was also a selection of tasty desserts, which you could even take back to your room if you wanted.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant dinner buffet

The staples of the buffet were the same each day, but there were some mild variations. For example, the specific types of salads and desserts differed.

Lunch at Miraval Arizona is a similar concept to dinner, except both the menu and buffet aren’t quite as extensive. You can find the lunch menu below.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch menu

For lunch we mostly stuck to the buffet, but we did try the mahi mahi special one day, and another day had the plant burger.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch

The buffet was great as well, with salads, sandwiches, several kinds of soups, cheese, and a small selection of desserts.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant lunch buffet

Below you can find the breakfast menu.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast menu

Both the coffee and cappuccinos were excellent.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant coffee
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant cappuccino

From the menu we enjoyed the huevos rancheros, omelet, and avocado toast.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast

The breakfast buffet had all kinds of fresh fruit (I loved the selection and quality of berries), oatmeal, yogurt, smoked salmon, and several kinds of bread, bagels, and pastries.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet

Then there were a rotating selection of hot dishes, including everything from chilaquiles, to pancakes, to scrambled eggs.

Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet
Miraval Arizona Cactus Flower Restaurant breakfast buffet

We both really enjoyed the food. I will say though that after three days we were ready to leave the property and eat elsewhere, simply because the variety wasn’t huge. I do wish that Miraval had more than one main restaurant, though, since you have breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the same space every day.

The restaurant staff were universally friendly, almost creepily so (I mean that as a compliment — they were so nice). That being said, at times the service wasn’t particularly polished. For example, extra cutlery (or cutlery specific to what was being served) was almost never proactively offered, but rather had to be asked for. Similarly, meal preparation times were highly inconsistent, especially at dinner. Sometimes entrees came out within 10 minutes, and other times it took over 30 minutes.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe

As someone who loves coffee, Palm Court Cafe might be one of my favorite hotel concepts anywhere. It’s located near the main restaurant, and has drinks and snacks available all day.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe
Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe

For one, there’s a selection of fresh fruit cups, yogurt parfaits, cheese plates, all kinds of sweets, and whole fruit, which you can grab anytime you want.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe snacks
Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe snacks

Then there’s a selection of smoothies, wellness shots, and coffee. You can customize any of these however you’d like, which is pretty fun.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe menu

You can also order everything from burritos, to quesadillas, to sandwiches.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe food

The cappuccinos at Miraval Arizona were really, really good, and I probably had way too many of them.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe cappuccino

I also enjoyed the smoothies, and the wellness shots. It was nice to be able to grab a protein shake after going to the gym, which is something that so few hotels offer, even at a cost.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe smoothie
Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe wellness shot

The prickly pear ice tea was excellent as well, and a great healthy alternative to soda. This could also be ordered in the restaurant.

Miraval Arizona Palm Court Cafe self-serve drinks

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill

Coyote Moon Bar & Grill is a cozy place to grab a drink before or after dinner, and there’s plenty of both indoor and outdoor seating.

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill indoor seating
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill indoor seating
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill indoor seating
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill outdoor seating
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill outdoor seating

The cocktails weren’t cheap, but then again, when you consider that there’s no tipping and that these are the “all-in” prices, it wasn’t too bad.

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill cocktail list
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill cocktails

There was also a nice selection of wines, most of which were pretty reasonably priced for a hotel of this caliber.

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill wine list

The bar also has a food menu, should you want a snack before or after dinner, or should you just want to have a light dinner here.

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill food menu

The bar also had some appetizers every evening, including crudités, chips, guacamole, hummus, and more.

Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill snacks
Miraval Arizona Coyote Moon Bar & Grill snacks

Honestly, the amount of food guests are offered at this property throughout the day is borderline obscene.

Miraval Arizona pools

Miraval Arizona has several sets of pools. The main pool area is the Oasis Pool, located by the spa. This consists of a hot tub and two pools, each on a different level.

Miraval Arizona hot tub
Miraval Arizona pool
Miraval Arizona pool
Miraval Arizona pool
Miraval Arizona pool

Then the Body Mindfulness Center had a massive lap pool.

Miraval Arizona lap pool
Miraval Arizona lap pool
Miraval Arizona lap pool seating

There was one more pool near the Yucca Cabana, though it paled in comparison to the other two pools.

Miraval Arizona pool

Miraval Arizona gym

The Body Mindfulness Center has the Miraval’s gym. It’s a huge gym, and wasn’t used much, since most of the activities at the resort are pretty active. While I wouldn’t say the equipment was cutting edge, I appreciated the variety of options available.

Miraval Arizona gym
Miraval Arizona gym
Miraval Arizona gym
Miraval Arizona gym

Miraval Arizona spa

The Miraval’s spa is named Life in Balance, and it’s a pretty nice facility. Guests can use the sauna, steam room, hot tub, and relaxation area anytime, even without an appointment.

Miraval Arizona spa entrance
Miraval Arizona spa entrance
Miraval Arizona spa reception
Miraval Arizona spa hot tub
Miraval Arizona spa sauna & steam room
Miraval Arizona spa sauna
Miraval Arizona spa relaxation area
Miraval Arizona spa relaxation area

The spa also has a huge variety of treatments, and you can use your property credits toward this, just as you can toward any paid activities. You can find the spa treatment menu here. We each had a 50-minute Body in Balance massage, and enjoyed them immensely. For what it’s worth, these were priced at $250.

Obviously that’s expensive, though there’s no tipping, and after the $175 per person credit, that’s like paying $75 for the massage, if you want to view it that way. Credits at the property roll over day to day, so you can potentially totally offset the cost of a spa treatment, depending on how you’re otherwise using credits.

Miraval Arizona spa treatment room

Miraval Arizona activities

The main reason people come to Miraval Arizona is for the activities. The property offers an incredible number of options, ranging from outdoor activities, to lectures, to fitness classes. You can find the daily activity schedule here, and as you’ll see, there are multiple activities every hour. From a Q&A with a farmer, to a class about discovering your dosha, to cardio drumming, to improv, to an artisan taco class, to floating meditation, you really have endless options.

A few things to note:

  • You can book these activities well before you arrive on-property, and you absolutely should; I tried to arrange our activities a few days before arrival, and roughly half of the activities we wanted to book were already at capacity
  • Once you’re on property, there are a couple of handy monitors (one across from Palm Court Cafe, and one in the lobby), which show all the same day activities that are still available; you can sometimes get availability last minute, thanks to cancelations
  • Some activities are complimentary, while others have a fee, which your $175 daily per person credit can apply toward; at times I felt like there was no rhyme or reason to whether something was free or chargeable, and even for the activities that cost extra, the relative pricing often didn’t make sense to me
  • The temptation with maximizing your time is probably to plan several activities per day, though don’t over plan yourself, or else you won’t be able to relax and enjoy the property as such
  • Classes are various lengths, ranging from one hour, to half a day; personally I wouldn’t do more than a few hours of activities per day

The lecture-based activities are mostly in conference rooms of sorts. While sitting in a conference room isn’t usually my idea of a fun vacation, I enjoyed the workshops I attended.

We did the “Dharma Workshop: Create A Life with Meaning and Purpose” class, which was 90 minutes, and was described as follows:

Integrate ancient wisdom with modern living by exploring the concept of Dharma (your soul’s true calling) and be introduced to the Five Pillars of Dharma, along with learning practical ways to implement them. Guests will then journey through an interactive self-inquiry prompt to help discover their Dharma and create a powerful mantra to align with it.

Miraval Arizona dharma workshop literature
Miraval Arizona dharma workshop literature

We also did the “Chorus of Crystals: Sound Meditation” class, which was 90 minutes, and was described as follows:

Experience this gentle, transformational, and healing meditation that helps balance the chakra system by resting in a crystal layout and bathing in the healing vibrations from Himalayan sound bowls and a quartz crystal harp. Leave this meditation with renewed and balanced energy, along with an understanding of each charka’s role and recommendations for crystals that can help keep them in balance.

Then we did the “Floating Meditation” class, which was 45 minutes, and was described as follows (this was probably my favorite activity — I highly recommend it):

Experience the calming benefits of induced meditation while you are gently elevated above the floor in a silk hammock and rocked to the soothing vibrations of crystal bowls. Release your mind’s stress, tension, or worry while you “float” weightlessly in the air.

Miraval Arizona floating meditation

We also did a beginner climbing wall class, which we enjoyed

Miraval Arizona climbing wall

A few thoughts:

  • Has my life been changed, and am I ready to move to Bali to pursue a spiritual life? No, but there were certain things that made me think, and that will stick with me
  • The instructors were genuinely passionate and knowledgable about what they were talking about; I love learning from people who are passionate about their subject matter (whatever it may be), and they very much ticked those boxes
  • Note that many classes are interactive, so you may be put on the spot and asked to share your feelings, your strengths and weaknesses, etc., though this was done in a respectful way (in fairness, I didn’t take the “women, sex, and desire” class, so I can’t speak to how much sharing goes on there)
  • The classes are all very basic and assume that you know nothing about a particular topic; that’s ultimately the only way to do it, but obviously this will be more valuable for someone who doesn’t know much about a topic, rather than someone who is already knowledgable

We weren’t able to do some of Miraval’s most well known outdoor activities, like the “Giant’s Ladder,” where you’re supposed to “integrate the importance of trust, balance, and cooperation as you climb a 40-foot ladder.” Ford was bummed it wasn’t available, though I’m not going to lie, this is something I was secretly very happy to skip. 😉

Miraval Arizona outdoor activities
Miraval Arizona outdoor activities
Miraval Arizona outdoor activities

Bottom line

We really enjoyed our long weekend at Miraval Arizona. It’s a totally different kind of vacation experience than we’re used to. As someone who likes to learn and stay busy, I love this concept — I far prefer this to sitting at the beach and/or drinking all day.

Miraval Arizona has a gorgeous setting, a huge variety of interesting classes and activities, good food, and an amazing smoothie and coffee bar. That being said, the property could definitely use a refresh, and it sure would be nice if there were a bit more variety to the dining options (both in terms of the food as such, as well as the setting you eat in).

The price tag in cash was also rather steep given some of the shortcomings, but then again, luxury hotel pricing doesn’t make much sense right now across the board. I thought the points pricing was fair, though, given all that’s included.

After visiting Miraval Arizona, I’d love to visit Miraval Austin and Miraval Berkshires — I’ve heard Miraval Austin is a much more modern and updated property, while Miraval Berkshires is cool and has a totally different vibe, given where it is.

What do you make of the Miraval experience?

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  1. Theresa Guest

    Anyone have a problem getting nights/points to post after stay? It has been a week since my stay and no posting. I called Hyatt and was told it could take up to a month. I have stayed at Miraval many times and the posting was quick.

  2. No_one New Member

    Nice review. How was Miraval equipped for parents with baby? Do you get baby crib on request? I cannot see any cribs on pictures. Is there baby station in restaurants?

    1. Jenelle Madera Guest

      There are no children allowed, this is an adults only resort.

    2. No_one New Member

      What did they do with their baby?

  3. Andrew Guest

    We stayed at Miraval Arizona January ‘21 and really had an incredible time. We’ve since moved to the east coast and I’ve been to Miraval Berkshires three times this year and going again in a few weeks. The biggest highlight I’ve experienced are the Equine classes. Can’t recommend enough trying one if you go.

  4. marie Guest

    I stayed there late last month and my biggest disappointment was the food. I don't understand how they don't realize how bad some of the dishes they send out are. Every beef dish was charred and dry, the duck for our last dinner was tough and gamey. Some of the flavor combinations straight up didn't make sense like pouring coconut yogurt over every vegetable imaginable multiple days in a row.

    They did cook fish well...

    I stayed there late last month and my biggest disappointment was the food. I don't understand how they don't realize how bad some of the dishes they send out are. Every beef dish was charred and dry, the duck for our last dinner was tough and gamey. Some of the flavor combinations straight up didn't make sense like pouring coconut yogurt over every vegetable imaginable multiple days in a row.

    They did cook fish well and I liked some of their salads. Salmon was served for lunch every day but at least you knew what you were getting. The desserts are more conventional and sweeter than I thought for being at a wellness resort.

    I did mention all this in my survey and they emailed me saying they would take immediate action--yeah right! They seem content to do whatever they want coasting off of their brand.

  5. AJ Member

    Good review Ben. I would highly recommend reviewing the Austin location. I believe your 4.5 Tucson rating would change to 3.5 if you had another Miraval to compare it with. In fact, my best friend (& OMAAT contributor?) Jamal and I went earlier this year and we loved it. Ask him to write a "guest review."

  6. Aikido New Member

    This is a great resort.

    The Sunrise Rooms are nicer. The Retreat Suites are incredible.

  7. iamhere Guest

    1. The $175 resort fee would turn me off. That just would make the room that much more expensive and that negates your comment that it is "all inclusive." All inclusive means that it is included in the roomrate, but they are charging $175 per person per night. Not saying you couldn't eat and drink your way through that, but that's not the point.

    2. I couldn't help but notice their lack of service...

    1. The $175 resort fee would turn me off. That just would make the room that much more expensive and that negates your comment that it is "all inclusive." All inclusive means that it is included in the roomrate, but they are charging $175 per person per night. Not saying you couldn't eat and drink your way through that, but that's not the point.

    2. I couldn't help but notice their lack of service for restocking buffets. At what they are charging I would not be happy about that either. It's not an express hotel.

    3. I want to point out that some of what they serve is really healthy, but some of what they serve looks healthy or many people think is healthy, but in fact it is not.

    4. The views I can't say are so spectacular or so boring. That's the view you get in the desert.

    5. I think it is important to note that it the hotel is about twice the distance from Phoenix airport. I point this out because it may be more effective for some to fly to Phoenix. Flying to Tucson pre-pandemic wasn't particularly easy and if you can more easily get to Phoenix it may be worth it.

    1. Sue Guest

      It's not a resort fee, it's a spa credit. And most people who go to Miraval spend about $400 to $1000 a day getting treatments. It is also not your typical spa, there are very spiritual treatments such as Himalayan Sound Bowl therapy, acupuncture, Japanese, Thai, and other old world based treatments. It is not a hotel, it is a wellness retreat.

  8. Grey Diamond

    With all of the negatives that you mentioned and the price that you paid, it seems quite shocking that it has a 4,5 star at the end of the day...
    I get that you almost exclusively review ultra high end properties, but for more than 1000 USD per night in the middle of nowhere, this place seems like a dump...

  9. Steven E Guest

    La Quinta resort comes to mind but it’s “better” - I find it totally underwhelming and way overpriced

  10. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

    Getting completely ripped off and rating the experience 4.5/5, this is why we love the OMAAT reviews!

  11. kels2003 Guest

    Thanks for this review, I was considering it for a trip in Tucson I have next spring.
    My experience at the Miraval Berkshires was largely the same. Gorgeous property and good food and activities, awful room (even though brand new) already falling apart, poorly appointed and actually really uncomfortable except for the bed.
    My impression is that they spend a lot of time on the product but skimp on the rooms. But the...

    Thanks for this review, I was considering it for a trip in Tucson I have next spring.
    My experience at the Miraval Berkshires was largely the same. Gorgeous property and good food and activities, awful room (even though brand new) already falling apart, poorly appointed and actually really uncomfortable except for the bed.
    My impression is that they spend a lot of time on the product but skimp on the rooms. But the challenge is that at a wellness resort, I wanted to spend time reading, resting, etc, in our room. I think it's a big thing to overlook and I don't know if I can risk that experience again.

  12. J Smith Guest

    This place is a dump. I went to college in Tucson. So I'm familiar with the area. It is a retirement home at 1k a night. Just a dump run the other way. Not sure if Ben was paid to stay there. DO NOT GO HERE.

  13. Sue Zoldak Guest

    Oh gosh. I'm an Authentic Circle Member at Miraval and I think you kind of missed the entire point of Miraval. It would have been a much better review if you had spoken to someone at the resort or even another guest as many of the guests are AC. The most important part of Miraval is to dive really deep into the spirituality and the work that is intended when you go to a retreat...

    Oh gosh. I'm an Authentic Circle Member at Miraval and I think you kind of missed the entire point of Miraval. It would have been a much better review if you had spoken to someone at the resort or even another guest as many of the guests are AC. The most important part of Miraval is to dive really deep into the spirituality and the work that is intended when you go to a retreat like this. It is not a "hotel." Dr. Tim and his life partner, Pam, lead and teach many of the advisors across all the Miravals. The marquee attraction is Dr. Tim's Spirit Flight, a 3 hour session that unlocks deep pain. Everyone I know who has done it has had life changing revelations. This is then followed by spa and deep body work. Most people that go to a Miraval are there to overcome a death, divorce, or other life change or to deeply unplug. I've never been to fewer than 2 to 3 spa sessions a day plus activities or classes. We call the people who go and just get a massage the "superficial" visitors who just don't get Miraval. Looks like you were one. It's like the chicken breast gourmet restaurants have to offer the person who doesn’t know how to eat out.

  14. Alan Guest

    I visited Miraval Arizona for Thanksgiving in 2020 and had the most amazing time.

    A few tips for others that might visit:

    1. If you are a Globalist, see if you can get a Sunrise Room instead of a Suite. They are modern, have amazing views, and way better bathrooms than the suite Ben got. Love the outdoor shower and fire pit. Overall MUCH nicer and who really needs the extra square footage? Photos...

    I visited Miraval Arizona for Thanksgiving in 2020 and had the most amazing time.

    A few tips for others that might visit:

    1. If you are a Globalist, see if you can get a Sunrise Room instead of a Suite. They are modern, have amazing views, and way better bathrooms than the suite Ben got. Love the outdoor shower and fire pit. Overall MUCH nicer and who really needs the extra square footage? Photos and review of the Sunrise King here: https://singleflyer.com/2020/12/01/miraval-arizona-sunrise-room-review/

    In fact, when I called to use a suite upgrade, the agent told me to save it and she'd put me in the superior Sunrise room instead (granted this was during Covid).

    2. For an activity, you can't miss "All the Buzz". You get dressed up in a bee keepers suit and get to learn tons from a VERY knowledgeable bee keeper. It was so fascinating. https://singleflyer.com/2020/12/01/miraval-arizona-dining-activities-and-the-property/

  15. Will Guest

    Ben, why don’t you talk about Authentic Circle
    Which is when you stay 4 or more times at a Miraval property

  16. Jerry Diamond

    Regarding transportation from PHX, I recently took an Uber from the Andaz Scottsdale to the JW Marriott in Tucson. It was $116, so an Uber to this resort from the PHX Airport would probably come in right at $100. Surprisingly reasonable!

  17. Alex Guest

    There is no way those calorie counts are accurate.

    1. Jen Guest

      Many of the dishes are no dairy, ie no butter or cream, and look flavorless and dry. Very easy to keep if the salad dressings are mostly apple cider vinegar and cooking oils are used sparingly.

  18. Clem Diamond

    That room definitely does not look great (I would have been so livid at this coffee maker), but I think that conference room with the dharma activity takes the cake! My goodness, how dreadful does that look, literally reminds me of some office park Hilton in some suburbs. The carpet, the ceiling, that TV stand... I'm sorry but there is literally zero excuse for that when you charge thousands per night, changing a bunch of...

    That room definitely does not look great (I would have been so livid at this coffee maker), but I think that conference room with the dharma activity takes the cake! My goodness, how dreadful does that look, literally reminds me of some office park Hilton in some suburbs. The carpet, the ceiling, that TV stand... I'm sorry but there is literally zero excuse for that when you charge thousands per night, changing a bunch of chairs and painting the walls isn't that expensive. The food, at least on pictures, also give me the same vibe (those cut sandwiches or crudite platters... yikes). I was always curious about this property and this review makes me go "absolutely not" so at least thanks for that haha! I mean for that price and a gorgeous setting, I'd rather go to Amangiri or something.

    1. hotintx Guest

      I completely agree regarding the "Dharma Activity Room." If that picture was in a story about having to sit through a timeshare presentation, I don't think anyone would bat an eye.

  19. UAFlyer Guest

    We stayed in the Retreat and the rooms were quite modern / luxurious, and we especially the outdoor hot tub area. If paying cash, I would definitely book in that newer section of the hotel.
    We greatly enjoyed our time at Miraval but would agree with the other poster that 2-3 nights felt long enough.

    1. UAflyer Guest

      *especially enjoyed the outdoor hot tub area

  20. Chegwin Guest

    All of this is available in various places in Asia for a tiny fraction of the cost - in nicer resorts too

  21. Will Morrison Guest

    For anyone who likes the kind of experience, Cas Gasi in Ibiza is an amazing wellness hotel. When we stayed there 2 years ago, it had the same outdoor style of the Miraval, with far nicer rooms and the hospitality of the Fogo Island Inn.

  22. hotintx Guest

    It never ceases to amaze me the many ways that people with apparently disposable income, can be convinced to dispose of large amounts of it.

  23. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

    To those suggesting a 4.5 star rating seems inflated, I totally get where you're coming from. Let me say, however, that in terms of value, I'm looking at this from the perspective of how many points I paid (65K points), and I think that's a fair price.

    Second of all, I acknowledged the property's shortcomings, but I really can't understate how beautiful the setting is, and how peaceful the experience was. I think Darin's...

    To those suggesting a 4.5 star rating seems inflated, I totally get where you're coming from. Let me say, however, that in terms of value, I'm looking at this from the perspective of how many points I paid (65K points), and I think that's a fair price.

    Second of all, I acknowledged the property's shortcomings, but I really can't understate how beautiful the setting is, and how peaceful the experience was. I think Darin's comment gives another perspective from someone who has stayed, and also had an amazing time in spite of the shortcomings.

    1. Sel_D Member

      Not only is this sensible, but it’s also consistent. Lucky gave Calala 5* and it left a lot to be desired room-wise. Sometimes a stay is defined by almost exclusively by the room (airport hotel), while other times it’s not.

    2. digital_notmad Gold

      Seconded. I stayed at Miraval AZ for 2 nights in December 2020 when Hyatt was running the points rebate deal, traveling with my wife, parents, and in-laws. It was a lovely experience and the property left quite a good lasting impression on our parents/in-laws. A 4.5 rating certainly seems warranted to me.

  24. Jill Guest

    You finally stayed at Miraval after all these years
    Plus you earn a brand badge towards a Category 1-4 free night

  25. mdande7 Diamond

    Thanks for the review. I'll stick to a Four Seasons and find my own Dharma or Chakra or whatever. This is not my cup of tea at all. Sort of like a wellness cruise but on land. Too much interaction for me!

  26. Matt C Guest

    Admittedly the 4.5 star rating seems VERY generous when considering the mediocre room setup, the lack of food variety, the exorbitant prices, and the general Courtyard Marriott-looking design. In general I have noticed that when booking high end hotels through Prive or Four Seasons Preferred Partner, your ratings seem inflated when compared to the review.

    1. TheBestBlackBrent Gold

      No wonder when the husband lives of FS commissions!

  27. Never In Doubt Guest

    4.5 stars? At that price? For that room?

  28. Jason Guest

    I would be very disappointed with that room at those rates. The coffee maker is actually horrible. Bare minimum they should have an Illy or a Nespresso.

  29. uldguy Diamond

    Maybe it’s just me being my “crabby old man” self, but this place just screams “meh”. Especially at this price point I would expect a lot more across the board. I will admit the food looking ok, though.

  30. Darin Member

    I’m not sure why rooms aren’t a priority at Miraval, but it’s true across the brand that they’re nothing special. I’ve been to Berkshires twice and Arizona once. Berkshires are new and the exterior looks like you could be at a Courtyard, and the interiors are completely unremarkable. You’ve described Arizona well. And yet… I’m clearly a fan as I’ve visited 3x. The key is to plan ahead. I find the activities to be the...

    I’m not sure why rooms aren’t a priority at Miraval, but it’s true across the brand that they’re nothing special. I’ve been to Berkshires twice and Arizona once. Berkshires are new and the exterior looks like you could be at a Courtyard, and the interiors are completely unremarkable. You’ve described Arizona well. And yet… I’m clearly a fan as I’ve visited 3x. The key is to plan ahead. I find the activities to be the highlight of Miraval, although I favor the hiking and adventure side that tend to fill up in advance. Book often and early, cancel when you get there if you’re oversubscribed. They also offer waitlists for full activities and these do tend to clear (see above book and cancel recommendation, lots of guests cancel at the 24 hour mark). While I 100% agree with your assessment about the rooms, it’s one of the rare properties where it’s not the most important factor. I do wish they’d put more thought into that aspect, but come for the experience and you won’t be disappointed.

  31. jeffers New Member

    All Miraval packages (including when redeeming points) include the following:

    Accommodations

    *lol*

  32. mowogo Member

    Stayed at Miraval in 2020 and absolutely loved it, but agree about the limited food selection creating a desire to limit the stay to 2 or 3 nights. The hike is amazing, and you really get to see how large those Saguaro Cacti are, and the adventure course activities are very different than you may expect. I also recommend Malas, Mantras, and Meditation and even went from that course into making my own Mala which I still travel with and use.

  33. pstm91 Diamond

    Nice review. Can't speak to the rooms, but the "Retreat" suites are brand new and I think a lot of the villas are too.

    If you're into wellness now, it would be interesting for us to read comparative reviews of places like Golden Door, The Ranch, etc. I know those are not points properties, but I'm sure Ford could get you an advisor rate.

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Grey Diamond

With all of the negatives that you mentioned and the price that you paid, it seems quite shocking that it has a 4,5 star at the end of the day... I get that you almost exclusively review ultra high end properties, but for more than 1000 USD per night in the middle of nowhere, this place seems like a dump...

3
TheBestBlackBrent Gold

Getting completely ripped off and rating the experience 4.5/5, this is why we love the OMAAT reviews!

3
Alan Guest

I visited Miraval Arizona for Thanksgiving in 2020 and had the most amazing time. A few tips for others that might visit: 1. If you are a Globalist, see if you can get a Sunrise Room instead of a Suite. They are modern, have amazing views, and way better bathrooms than the suite Ben got. Love the outdoor shower and fire pit. Overall MUCH nicer and who really needs the extra square footage? Photos and review of the Sunrise King here: https://singleflyer.com/2020/12/01/miraval-arizona-sunrise-room-review/ In fact, when I called to use a suite upgrade, the agent told me to save it and she'd put me in the superior Sunrise room instead (granted this was during Covid). 2. For an activity, you can't miss "All the Buzz". You get dressed up in a bee keepers suit and get to learn tons from a VERY knowledgeable bee keeper. It was so fascinating. https://singleflyer.com/2020/12/01/miraval-arizona-dining-activities-and-the-property/

3
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